Does giving my baby a tablet make me a bad mum?

I don’t mean the medicinal kind of tablet, I mean the computer kind.

bad mum

As a work at home mum tablets – along with, shock horror, the TV – are a vital part of my arsenal to get through the working day, especially in the school holidays.

Loaded with games and books and videos and puzzles they enable me to make that important phone call, deal with emails and concentrate on the latest feature I’m writing.

bad mum

Yet everywhere you look as a parent there’s the notion screens are bad for kids, and the less they use them the better.

Does giving my baby a tablet make me a bad mum?

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no child under the age of 18 months old should be exposed to screens, and after that one hour of screen time a day up to the age of five is ok as long as it’s high quality programming and you’re watching it with them (as opposed to leaving them to it, like me).

I’m sorry, but one hour?? What planet are they on? My three use screens in various forms – their tablets, the TV, my phone – a lot longer than that. I think a reality check is needed here.

Interestingly, there are no such official guidelines in the UK, so does that make it ok that I let my 17-month-old, three-year-old and six-year-old loose with screens for waaay longer than that?

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It’s not as though I’m handing them devices and letting them surf the internet until they get square eyes while I chat on the phone or paint my nails. I’m handing them devices with a piano function and matching games and nursery rhymes while I help earn the money to put the food on the table and keep a roof over their heads.

bad mum

Surely being in their own home with me and our screens is better than the alternative: being in full time childcare with strangers and not seeing each other until tea time.

In fact the latter scenario would make life far easier for me – allowing me to concentrate on just my job instead of doing two jobs at the same time, which is essentially what work at home mums (and dads) do. But I don’t believe it would be better for the kids.

I honestly believe they’re better off at home with me, even if they are looking at screens for more than an hour a day. And even if that does mean some people think I’m a bad mum. Because any way to stay at home, right? At least I’m the one making their tea and wiping their bottoms and drying their eyes and giving them cuddles.

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What do you think? Are screens really that bad for kids? Do your kids have tablets and how long do you let them use them for in a day? I’d love to know your thoughts!

If you liked this you may also enjoy reading:

10 reasons it’s ok to use TV as a babysitter

Surviving the school holidays without going batsh*t mental

How I make working from home with kids work

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